Quit. It can be such a negative word. I’ve heard messages my entire life of “don’t quit” or “don’t give up.”
I use the word “quit” with my kids almost every single day in the form of “Quit fighting!” I laugh at that because they’re never going to stop fighting. When they really get into an argument that won’t let up, I make them do more chores. I figure if they’re going to fight, they might as well do something productive while they argue.
We encourage our children to stick with sports or their music, dance or karate lessons that we may or may not have pressured them into taking in the first place. Quitters never win, and winners never quit, right? But let’s get real here, what if someone legitimately sucks at something? Is it okay to quit then? Must they have exhausted all efforts and failed first? Is failing once enough to quit? Twice? Three times?
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I think my first answer to that question was a mommy. I would play with my dolls and pretend I was their mommy. I would change their clothes, pack a diaper bag, and have my dolls ride in a toy car seat buckled into the car. Basically, I would imitate how my mother took care of my baby sister.
Next, I wanted to be a teacher. I used to play school with my stuffed animals all the time. Looking back, I find this ironic because there were times when I hated school. I felt lonely and left out sometimes. Other times, there was too much attention when I would have preferred to blend in. Adolescence can be difficult for the meek. Thank God for great teachers, friends, my family, and a lousy guidance counselor (or was she?) who had reservations about me “making it” in college so far away from my comfort zone. At any hard time when I briefly entertained the thought of quitting, I thought about that guidance counselor’s comment and decided that succeeding—if only to spite her—was worth it. Continue reading “When I grow up”
I have been furiously editing Jordan’s Sister over the summer while my test readers enjoyed the story. Each of them found different things that I hadn’t. Editing my own work is the most difficult task, but it is also the most rewarding. Finding a better, smoother way to say what I need to in order to convey the right meaning is satisfying. I’m proud of my work. Each day, I am a better writer than I was the day before.
It was different writing Jordan’s Sister than Caroline’s Lighthouse because I wasn’t pulling heavily from previous material. Caroline’s Lighthouse was a rewrite of a story I wrote at 15—the most polished of my teenage works. Jordan’s Sister was originally part one of a two-book series I wrote at 14 about the events leading up to a teen’s suicide in the first book and the events after in the second book.